#30DaysWild 28: The Mini Ponds

Back in July 2018 we dug some new mini ponds at Wheatland Farm – one to take the waste Hot Tub water from Beech Lodge, some just to provide some new habitat. This time last year for #30DaysWild we were looking at their progress, and we thought we’d do the same again in 2020.

The main picture above is of the foxgloves adorning the mound we dug out to make the pond near Beech Eco Lodge (in the background). This one is designed to slow, rather than hold the hot tub water, so it drains away slowly but keeps a damp patch in the field. It doesn’t seem to have minded not being used during the covid19 lockdown – the reeds are still thriving.

Phragmites (common reed) takes a while to get going and build up a thick reed bed, and we’ve had some successes and some failures in trying to establish it. The side of the field that takes the hot but water from Balebarn Lodge is slowly growing more reeds, as we cut back some over shadowing willow last winter.

This year we planted cut stems in what should have been nearly a pond in normal years (the gated corner of the lodge field), but the area dried out in the hot spring we had, and the reeds probably haven’t taken. Other cut stems, stood in a bucket of rain water, are slowly taking root and will be planted on when they look viable.

When we dug the mini ponds in 2018, we transplanted living roots from quite tall reed plants. In 2019 the tall stems had died back, but young plants were established ….

This year the reeds are getting taller, but not yet much denser.

  • Shows a female, or possibly an immature male emerald damselfly
  • shows an emerald damselfly photographed at Wheatland Farm

They are still useful though. Supporting common, azure, large red, and emerald damselflies, as well as broad bodied chaser dragonflies, and plenty of tadpoles. The other day, a young moorhen scarpered from of the ponds as we approached.

At the end of the summer we may dig some more scrapes and ponds – we have the space, and they don’t stay the same for many years, so it’s good to have different stages of succession.

Previously for #30DaysWild

This time last year: We were checking up on the mini ponds

This time in 2018: A butterfly catch up…. This year we’ve not had small copper or gatekeeper yet, but they should be around any day now.

This time in 2017: It was a rainy day, with drops glistening on spiders webs. There’s always a silver lining!